If you had told me a month ago that I would be sitting in a church, let alone sitting in a church for the third week in a row by choice, I would have laughed at you. No I probably would have told you to fuck off. Classy, I know. But there I was, third weekend in a row, listening to the pastor talk about God and preach about the Bible. Then somehow he pinpointed the exact feeling I was going through at that second. I’ve found that no matter what you’re going through, somehow, the sermon will always feel like it’s directed at you.
My religious background would be based on two reasons as to why I had such aversion to it for the last 20 odd years.
- I hated that I had to get up early to go to Catholic Church.
- There was always a control piece that I felt came with religion that I couldn’t wrap my brain around.
Are we really on this Earth to follow 10 commandments that were written eons before any of us existed? I was pessimistic against all religion, especially the extremist views, because it made me feel like someone was trying to always tell me what is right and what is wrong.
So I left the Catholic Church behind the second my mother told me I didn’t have to go anymore. I didn’t want God to be a part of anything I did and I was overtly offended when people tried to reintroduce me to religion.
It wasn’t until a month ago that I met someone who reintroduced me to faith in a way that resonated with me. The first thing I noticed about church as an adult was just the overwhelming sense of community. A weird feeling I hadn’t felt in a while. Church isn’t the only place we find this. We find it when we’re in University. We find it when we join a club or activity or group. We find it whenever we have a support system that lift us up to be the best version of ourselves. I saw so many people finding this community while at church.
After sitting through my first service at a church in a faith different from my Catholic roots, I started to understand why people loved being there. Then I felt like a hypocrite. I felt like the biggest hypocrite that walked the Earth because I was the one who not only broke a few of the commandments on a regular basis but also was a person who told people how much I hated church and people who went to church. I respected the fact that people had views but if they even tried to get me explore religion with them then I had to tell them I wasn’t at all interested.
But it’s after listening to these sermons that I’ve begun to open my eyes to the world around me. I’ve began to understand what people see in religion. I can’t sit here and tell you that I have 100 percent given myself over to God and Church and the whole shebang but I am more open to seeing what my personal relationship with religion will be.
Last Sunday the pastor said, “You’re grieving. Your heart is broken. You’re lost. You can’t see where God is in any of this,” and when he said that I almost laughed. As a person who believes in cold hard facts, my argument against religion was, “Well we can’t physically see God and what kind of God creates a world like this?”
So when the pastor said that one line, it felt like someone turned up my internal temperature. How did he know my exact thought? How did he know that I had questioned what the whole “God’s plan” thing really meant? It gave me a weird sense of being. It made me think that I need to explore religion more.
So I did. I bought books. A lot of books. I’ve been researching non-stop on all different views people have had of religion. I’ve read about Judaism. Islam. Christian. Buddhism. Atheism. All of it. I wanted to understand what exactly made someone choose a specific religion and follow it whole heartedly.
Do you know what I learned? Religion is personal. It is a personal decision you make when you feel it’s the right one for you. It’s a decision you make when your heart is open and you know exactly what you want to do. Maybe it’s my unpopular opinion that God made us all with a vision that we can make a decision in the way we see and connect with Him. Or Her. Whatever you prefer.
For me, I will continue on my journey of faith and find out what fits in my life. The pastor I’ve been listening to lately feels like the right one for me right now but that doesn’t mean it can’t change. It probably won’t but I’ve learned to never live in 100 percent certainty. Bottom line is this; when it comes to religion, listen to your heart and you’ll make the right choice for you.